Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Family Law Resource on Separation Agreements

West Coast LEAF is proud to announce our recent publication entitled "Separation Agreements: Your Right to Fairness". 

This plain language family law resource gives a general overview of the financial issues surrounding separation, ranging from preparing a financial statement to when it might be possible to apply to the courts to change or cancel a separation agreement. This 12 page booklet is intended for anyone interested in learning more about the financial issues surrounding separation.

The booklet can be downloaded free of charge from our website, and is part of a larger three year project that aims to enhance women's knowledge of their rights in family law. The project stems from our successful intervention at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Rick v Brandsema case. In that case, the parties entered a separation agreement that left Mr. Brandsema with substantially more assets than Ms. Rick after 27 years of marriage. The Supreme Court of Canada found that the parties' separation agreement was unfair and invalid because Mr. Brandsema exploited Ms. Rick's vulnerabilities and purposely misled her about the state of their financial affairs.

After Rick v Brandsema concluded, West Coast LEAF received numerous calls from women and advocates faced with the challenge of needing the courts to review unfair separation agreements. For these women, legal representation is often unaffordable and inaccessible, particularly since family law legal aid is very rarely available in BC for such an issue.

We believe that the most effective ways to address the pressing need for legal representation for women in our current legal aid climate is to enhance community-based legal services and provide educational opportunities for advocates on important issues concerning women's rights in family law. We are currently developing workshops for advocates and service providers to help deepen their understanding of separation agreements, to assist them in walking women through "Separation Agreements: Your Right to Fairness", and answer commonly asked questions that might arise. We intend to begin delivering these workshops around the province in the second half of 2012.

West Coast LEAF’s mission is to achieve equality by changing historic
patterns of systemic discrimination against women through BC-based
equality rights litigation, law reform and public legal education.

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